-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger
In a recent full-page paid advertisement in the Washington Post, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and dozens of leaders of Catholic organizations voiced their opposition to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rule which they describe as forcing private health providers to provide “preventive services.” The HHS plan mandates, without charging a co-pay, co-insurance or a deductible, the provision of FDA-approved contraception methods. The advertisement claims these drugs may cause abortions which, by their definition, includes any single-celled fertilized egg that doesn’t implant.
The ad claims that following the HHS rule would violate their religious liberty and freedom of conscience.
Upon closer examination, their claims are based on dubious assumptions. Consider the claim that the rule would “forc[e] almost all private health plans” to provide a particular coverage. The implication is that the government would force private insurers to provide this coverage, against their will. I am skeptical that the USCCB has surveyed insurance providers to support this claim. It is reasonable that insurance providers would see preventative measures as a cost-effective tool to reduce payouts. Many more insurance providers would provide contraception coverage were it not for pressure brought by these organizations. The HHS rule would give those insurance providers, who want to provide contraception coverage, the freedom to do so without fear of harassment or boycott.
An employer who provides workplace health insurance can, based on religious beliefs, coerce female employees to sign up with an insurance plan that does not cover contraception. An employee, who may not share the employer’s religious beliefs, is denied her right to contraception as found in Griswold v. Connecticut and Eisenstadt v. Baird.
In a news release from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the state provides a compelling rationale for the rule:
Scientists have abundant evidence that birth control has significant health benefits for women and their families, it is documented to significantly reduce health costs, and is the most commonly taken drug in America by young and middle-aged women.
Health care providers have a professional responsibility to their patients that transcends personal convictions. The duties of a health care professional are based on the best available science and are not there to be molded to fit their personal preferences.
The HHS rule includes a waiver that allows certain nonprofit religious employers to opt-out of the preventative services requirement. Other nonprofit employers who, because of religious convictions, do not provide preventative services in their insurance plans will be given one year to comply with the new rule.
The war on contraception is, in fact, a war on a woman’s right to engage in nonprocreative sexual intercourse. Those who often decry governmental intrusion in our lives are the first to support governmental intrusion into our sexual choices.
H/T: Sarah Posner.
116 thoughts on “Framing Discrimination As Religious Freedom”
“Too bad you don’t understand that the DNA there is the same as the rest of your body, therefore it is not a separate organism.”
Too bad for you that you don’t understand that a chain of amino acids isn’t the same thing as living human.
“Too bad for you viability is irrelevant to whether an organism is alive or not.”
Too bad for you viability is not only relevant, but critical to whether an organism is alive or not. They have a word for non-viable complex organisms. Meat.
You can keep trying to define life as starting with clusters of differentiated cells in a symbiotic relation with a host all you like. It’s dogma, but it isn’t scientific. Speaking of scientific . . .
Tissues incapable of discrete viability is not capable of independent homeostasis, regulation of the internal environment to maintain a constant state, (any further) organization, metabolizing, growth, adaptation, response to stimuli or reproduction.
“It doesn’t matter whether the example is e coli or a naked human on the moon. The human on the moon dies too but that doesn’t mean he was never alive to begin with, as you suggest. So now I suppose complex multicellular parasites don’t exist either because they die without a host? Like I said, general principle. You can’t see the forest for the trees.”
You don’t understand the word “discrete” in addition to the word “viable” apparently. Also, a parasite uses the resources of a host like other forms of life use food – to fuel their discrete internal processes. Deprive a human of food and they will die too.
“Well let’s see. So far you deny DNA. You think that things that can’t survive outside their natural environment were never alive to begin with. ”
Straw man. I don’t “deny DNA”. And the second part begs the question that pre-birth differentiated cells are living human beings despite their non-viability as discrete organisms.
“’Bullshit… Zealot… RCC dogma based blather…’
Name calling a vulgarity are the last resorts of someone whose argument has been defeated.”
No, in your case the term zealot is merely accurate as is the description of your efforts here as RCC dogma based blather. If I had wanted to be vulgar, I would have said theocrats are assholes. You haven’t defeated a goddamn thing on the merits and if you don’t like the use of certain words that’s just too fucking bad. Oops! I bet you found that vulgar too. I suggest you forgive me for not using an RCC approved vocabulary.
It’s what Jesus would do.
Also . . . “‘“I love it when people try to say ‘the Constitution protects my rights, but not yours because my God is better than your God’.’
I love it when people bring up things that I never said and argue with themselves as if they were arguing with me, or was that not directed at me?”
Being that you are arguing against people having the ability to access health care services you disagree with based upon your religious dogma, you may not have stated that was your goal explicitly but it is an accurate description of your actions in claiming your practice as a Catholic is impaired by giving others the freedom to exercise their beliefs and free will in determining their personal health care. Again, no one is mandating that you use contraception, only that it be made available through insurance companies to those who chose to use it. Which in fact doesn’t interfere with your free exercise or healthcare choices in the slightest. The arrogance you display is thinking you get to be the moral arbiter of others in their healthcare and religious choices is simply staggering. If you don’t approve of contraception? Don’t use it, but when you try to deny others access to services based on your belief you are pissing all over the very same 1st Amendment you are hiding behind. Given the history of your beloved organization, that it breeds such blatant hypocrisy as a matter of official position is simply par for the course.
You may think I’m vulgar, but I know you’re a zealous theocratic hypocrite.
Your every statement only bolsters that knowledge.
I’d much rather be considered vulgar than any of those things.
That should have been, “Name calling and vulgarity…”
“I love it when people try to say “the Constitution protects my rights, but not yours because my God is better than your God”.”
I love it when people bring up things that I never said and argue with themselves as if they were arguing with me, or was that not directed at me?
“my endocrine system has rights and is a human should it escape my body.”
Too bad you don’t understand that the DNA there is the same as the rest of your body, therefore it is not a separate organism.
“Too bad for you speciation is irrelevant to viability.”
Too bad for you viability is irrelevant to whether an organism is alive or not.
“and it was an improper comparison between simple prokaryotic life and complex multicellular organisms that ignores the real issue of whether the form continue to perform the functions of life in its natural environment independently of the parent (host) organism.”
It doesn’t matter whether the example is e coli or a naked human on the moon. The human on the moon dies too but that doesn’t mean he was never alive to begin with, as you suggest. So now I suppose complex multicellular parasites don’t exist either because they die without a host? Like I said, general principle. You can’t see the forest for the trees.
“And you wish to accuse me of scientific ignorance? Really, that’s just hysterical.”
Well let’s see. So far you deny DNA. You think that things that can’t survive outside their natural environment were never alive to begin with. You throw out microbiology and embryology because they prove you wrong. Hardly the arguments of someone familiar with biology or do you just deny any science that might upset your unscientific beliefs and prejudices?
While you have your Webster’s out, maybe look up the definition of life. I’ll even help:
Where is the mention of viability if that is so crucial?
“Bullshit… Zealot… RCC dogma based blather…”
Name calling a vulgarity are the last resorts of someone whose argument has been defeated.
Too bad you don’t understand that an actual life is a discrete self-sustaining organism independent of a parent organism. Because by your “reasoning” (such as it is), my endocrine system has rights and is a human should it escape my body.
“If it weren’t for that pesky DNA that proves it is a unique member of the species… Oh right, DNA is one of those RCC dogmas you keep talking about…”
Too bad for you speciation is irrelevant to viability. Viability is the demarcation between what is live and what is dead. You seem to not understand the meaning of that word, so let me help you with that. Or more to the point, I’ll let Webster’s help you with that.
viable \ˈvī-ə-bəl\, adj.,
1: capable of living; especially : having attained such form and development as to be normally capable of surviving outside the mother’s womb
Oops. Unless the RCC has some secret dictionary that gives the “One True God Approved”(TM) definition of what the word “viable” means.
“The point there was that you can take any organism out of its native environment and it may not survive. It’s a general principle not reductio ad absurbum.”
No, it was reductio ab adsurdum and it was an improper comparison between simple prokaryotic life and complex multicellular organisms that ignores the real issue of whether the form continue to perform the functions of life in its natural environment independently of the parent (host) organism. If a form cannot survive independent of the parent, it isn’t a life even if it is living tissue because . . . wait for it . . . it isn’t viable.
That you suck at using the form as compared to the insurance company example I provided is simply indicative of your inadequacy at argumentation. See, for reductio ab adsurbum to work properly, you cannot rely on examples that commit the logical fallacy of the inconsistent comparison. The thing being exaggerated must be of the same quality as that which you are addressing. Simple prokaryotic life is not the same thing in the terms of viability when compared to multicellular complex organisms. And you wish to accuse me of scientific ignorance? Really, that’s just hysterical.
The rest of you say isn’t worth addressing, zealot.
Still waiting for your more scientific definition with references. Show me the data.
“You can’t tell the difference between differentiated cells… your religious dogma in action.”
If it weren’t for that pesky DNA that proves it is a unique member of the species… Oh right, DNA is one of those RCC dogmas you keep talking about…
“reductio ad absurbum”
The point there was that you can take any organism out of its native environment and it may not survive. It’s a general principle not reductio ad absurbum. The native environment for a human at that stage of development is the womb. There are plenty of species where the juvenile form develops in a different environment from the later forms and dies if you remove it from that environment. That doesn’t mean that if it dies it was never alive to begin with as you argue.
“I’m not the one with the problem understanding science here.”
Yes, you are, to the point where you are embarrassing yourself, or you would be if you knew how lacking your knowledge of biology really is.
“It’s a good thing you aren’t a lawyer, which obviously you aren’t.”
Indeed. Evidently it takes a lawyer to believe that the law trumps the physical sciences when it comes to explaining reality.
Come on now. Tell me how the government doesn’t have the right or power to regulate business in upholding the 1st and 14th Amendment rights of non-Catholics to access and coverage simply because your beloved RCC objects on dogmatic grounds.
I love it when people try to say “the Constitution protects my rights, but not yours because my God is better than your God”.
Look at the Rove manuver of rrjp!
“You reject the scientific definition so you argue against it because the scientific definition doesn’t fit your belief system. ”
I’m not the one with the problem understanding science here. You can’t tell the difference between differentiated cells and a discrete viable organism. Why? Well that would be your religious dogma in action.
“’Thus the RFRA was ruled unconstitutional for state and local applicability; however, it still applies to the federal government. The Act was amended in 2003 to only include the federal government and its entities, such as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.’
The HHS mandate is a federal rule right? Nice strawman back at you.”
The Commerce Clause and the 1st and 14th Amendment are part of the Constitution which trumps your HHS mandate. It’s a good thing you aren’t a lawyer, which obviously you aren’t.
“Now you’re exaggerating and just being silly.”
Proving that you don’t understand argumentation very well either since you don’t understand the execution of reductio ad absurbum well enough to realize when you’ve been played by it.
Really, you must try harder.
You might get popeslapped for your pitiful efforts.
(Shout out to pete!)
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